According to the United Nations, by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water stressed countries. The demand for water is growing, be it for industry or demand from consumers to a point where it may be unsustainable.
Livestock is responsible for over 8% of water use around the world, mainly for the irrigation of feed crops. According to the Water Footprint Network, in an intensive farming system, to produce 1kg beef you need 15,500 litres of water, compared to 1kg of barley or wheat which needs only 1,300 litres.
1kg beef - 15,500 litres
1kg mutton/lamb - 6,100 litres
1kg pork - 4,800 litres
1kg chicken - 3,900 litres
1kg soybeans - 1,800 litres
1kg barley or wheat - 1,300 litres
Apart from using water, livestock production can pollute water with antibiotics, pesticides, nitrogen and phosphorus. As a balance to this, pesticides and fertilisers from growing crops can also be washed into lakes and rivers, polluting the water.Read More: Livestock Farming and Climate Change